Judges 18QUESTION: Spies and False Gods - 1ANSWER:Judges 18 – Part 1
by Pastor Nathan Shepherd (Dive Chapel, Candle Key, Florida)
“Before we get started in our Judges study, I wanted to give everybody an update on what’s going on with our ‘Queen Eileen’ project.” Nathan Shepherd was leaning on the stage at the Dive Chapel in Candle Key, Florida. He had his Bible open. “The good news is that we’ve finished the filming of our 22-minute educational film about the mini-reef that’s in the back of the old submarine. The bad news is that we’ve been taken to court by some scoundrels who are trying to make a salvage claim on the ‘Queen Eileen’. Maritime law, or admiralty law, is on our side. Reef Restoration Ministries made a proper claim on the site, filed with the state of Florida, and was granted rights to survey the wreck and preserve the reef we found.
“About two weeks ago, a group tried to file a salvage claim on the ‘Queen’ claiming that they found the wreck and because its owners have not tried to recover it, they can now raise the wreckage and own it. Basically, this is a group of slimy lawyers who try tricks like this all over the Southeast and the Caribbean.
“They are trying to take advantage of a small gap in admiralty law and state law that does not distinguish well between an abandoned vessel and a wreck of antiquity. RRM has had to hire an attorney to fight this group’s claim. We presented preliminary evidence that they are out of bounds legally and that raising the wreckage would destroy the valuable reef that is growing in it. On the plus side for us is that 27 environmental groups have agreed to stand with us and plan to picket the law office in Gainesville of these lawyers. Our attorney has gotten a 60-day restraining order. She has also filed a counter-suit assessing monetary damages against this group. So, we’ll see what happens. It has been a busy week.”
A hand went up in the sixth or seventh row, a lady dressed in jeans and a Black Uhuru t-shirt. “Pastor Nathan, is it true that these bad guy lawyers came to the RRM offices and threatened some of your team?”
“Well, kind of. They barged into our office on Thursday and yelled and screamed accusations and obscenities. The cool thing was that our friend B.A. Miller from the Keys Sun Sentinel was there and he got everything down on tape and digital camera. Look for his article in the paper this week. I think the boys from Gainesville probably got more than they bargained for out of that little encounter.”
Another hand went up and Nate pointed to the young man who raised it. “This really stinks. Why does America allow idiots like these dirt bag lawyers to do the things they do?”
“Hey now, gang. We don’t know what their motivation is, but I suspect it’s greed, plain and simple. It seems clear to me that they don’t know the LORD. We need to keep them in our prayers. Pray that they’ll not only see the error of their ways, but that we’ll be great witnesses all during this process. Saving souls always comes first.” There was head nodding and murmurs of agreement throughout the cavernous room.
“I want to go back to something that I like to say often. To me, one of the most important verses in Scripture is Acts 17:11. Basically it says, ‘the Bereans were more noble than the Thessalonicans because they diligently searched the scriptures every day to check up on Paul.’ Did you get that? To ‘check up’ on what the Apostle Paul preached. The way I see it, Billy Graham is about that big compared to Paul.” Nate held up his right hand with his thumb and index finger about an inch apart.
“Now if those noble, first-century Christians in Berea were studying the Word every single day to make sure what Paul said was true, you better be spending some serious time checking scripture to make sure what yours truly says is right on. Okay?
“Having led with that, let’s open up our Bibles to Judges 18. In this chapter, on the surface, we see the continuing saga of Micah from Ephraim. Remember last week when we talked about this man setting up his own religion. Well, one thing I can always tell you about a man-made religion: there’s always a stronger army, a meaner leader, better looking gods, and luckier charms. Our boy Mikey finds that out pretty quick.
“Verse 1 again begins, ‘in those days there was no king in Israel.’ It goes on to say that the tribe of Dan was looking for a place to dwell because, and I’ll quote, ‘until that day their inheritance among the tribes of Israel had not fallen to them.’ Did you catch that? They hadn’t yet been able to run the Canaanites out of the land God had staked out for them. Hmmm. Why might that be?
“Ultimately, the story in chapter 18 is that the men of Dan sent five spies out to look for an easy to conquer city that they could easily make their own. Earlier in this study we talked about how we conquer the land by faithfulness and live joyfully and abundantly in it by obedience. These cats obviously did not have the faith to take the first step of abundant life in the Promised Land. So, now they’re looking for it on their own. Big mistake.Judges 18 – Read Part 2!